EDITOR'S NOTE MAY 2011 | VOL. 36 NO. 2
Surveying the Situation
BY NOW, YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD THE 2012 TRAVEL GOODS SHOW IS GOING back to Las Vegas. It's not that the 2011 Show in Chicago was a failure — by many measures it was a rousing success, as you'll discover in this issue's coverage. But, after going through an astonishing number of post-Show survey responses and sifting through hundreds of emails and taking your phone calls on the subject of where to hold The 2012 Show, the overwhelming majority of you told us you wanted to be back in Las Vegas, and the Board of Directors unanimously agreed.
The reasons for trying Chicago as a Show venue were completely valid, the biggest being the possibility for reaching a new audience by co-locating with the International Home + Housewares Show. And while we were successful in attracting a fair number of Housewares buyers — some of you even opened new accounts with those buyers — the overall numbers just weren't enough to offset the inconveniences of being far removed from the Housewares Show, in an exhibit hall not up to our usual standards, long waits for shuttle buses, expensive cab fares and inclement weather. Las Vegas should feel more like home after so many years of having our Show there. The venue is larger, giving us room to grow (we had a waiting list of exhibitors hoping to get into The 2011 Show); there are plenty of affordable housing options within easy walking distance; and, let's face it, Vegas is a fun town.
After walking the Show, getting pulled aside to listen to people's comments, and reading through emails after returning from Chicago, I can't say I was surprised by our survey results. But what did surprise me was the number of impassioned responses to our post-Show survey. The response rate was over 21 percent (for both exhibitors and attendees) — more than twice the rate of any of our other surveys! What's more, the vast majority of you who responded didn't just check off the boxes and hit “Send”. You actually took time to include comments, some literally pages long. I read dozens of carefully considered, deliberate, well crafted arguments. And, I fielded dozens of phone calls and personal emails as well on the subject of where The 2012 Travel Goods Show should be held.
It made me feel proud of TGA, that so many of you feel so strongly about this organization, and The Travel Goods Show, that you were willing to take time out of your busy workdays to think about what's best, and then argue your case. That speaks volumes about our membership, and it's one of the reasons why we have such a strong, vibrant industry: We have members who care. Some of you even went so far as to say that, personally, or for your own business, Chicago was best — and then you argued for Las Vegas as a Show venue because you felt it's better for our industry as a whole.
Thank you for your support, for attending The Show, for being part of TGA, and for caring enough to make your voice heard when it comes to the Big Picture. I've often said this is your association. I'm proud so many of you feel the same way.